Government ‘may sanction nerve-agent use on rioters’, scientists fear
Nerve Agents are classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the UN but that won’t stop the UK government from using it on the streets.
There is speculation that the UK is planning to sanction the use of chemical nerve agents against UK citizens on British streets. These could include substances whose use in warfare is banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.
Experts were commissioned by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences, to investigate new developments in neuroscience that could be of use to the military. They concluded that the Government may be preparing to exploit a loophole in the Chemical Weapons Convention allowing the use of incapacitating chemical agents for domestic law enforcement.
Currently only such chemical irritants as CS gas or pepper spray may be used for riot control. The incapacitating agents now under consideration would go way beyond such measures.
The 1993 convention prohibits the development or use of nerve agents and other toxic chemicals by the military but there is an exemption for certain chemical agents that could be used for domestic purposes such as policing and riot control.
Poisoning by a nerve agent leads to contraction of pupils, profuse salivation, convulsions, involuntary urination and defecation, and eventual death by asphyxiation as control is lost over respiratory muscles.